Despite a goalless first half, the Lions found themselves trailing after conceding a goal early in the second half before an equaliser by Safuwan Baharudin ended the night level for both teams.
The Lions paid the price for their defensive lapse which led to ATM getting a crucial away goal, ahead of the second leg of the semi-finals to be played in Selayang on Tuesday.
The team looked far from their true form in their last game, in which they cruised through an easy win to secure a place in last nights’s semis.
Speaking about the match, Coach Sundram said: “After many years, we are back in the semi-finals and I think the nerves got to the boys. Some of them were a bit jittery when they started but I thought they would overcome it.”
“I felt that it took longer for the boys to settle. We gave away the ball easily when we had the option to pass it.
“We didn’t play well. We are capable of a better performance and we should work towards that.”
He added that the positive to take away from tonight’s match was the “priceless equaliser” scored by the young defender.
Lions’ head coach also praised the fans, a strong sell-out crowd who turned up last night to cheer the Lions on: "The fans were really happy when we scored the equaliser and that gave us the morale booster and support we needed.”
He also conceded that they have no other option but to win the upcoming return leg, saying: “What choice do we have? We need to score. We need to win the game. It’s not going to be easy but we will go there and give it our best shot. We have nothing to lose.”
“We are playing against a good team. They are very experienced and so we need to be ready for the game. I think it’s going to be a very hard game.”
After last night’s game, the team will go into the second leg of the semi-finals without some of their regular players like Safuwan Baharudin and Irwan Shah, who both face suspension, along with the newly injured Sevki Sha’aban.
Nonetheless, Coach Sundram strongly believes that his team has the chance of making it to the finals.
“We still stand a chance," said the Malaysia Cup veteran.
"And I am confident that I will come up with a plan to go to the finals.”
LionsXII will next travel to the Majlis Perbandaran Selayang Stadium in Selayang on October 11 for a must-win second leg.